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Bumper honey crop at four-year high after warm summer

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The UK’s honey yield has hit a four-year high thanks to the long, warm summer, beekeepers have revealed.

Honey crop was up by a third this year despite the Beast from the East bringing snow to many parts of the UK in the spring.

The crop of honey increased across England to an average 30.8lb (14kg) per hive compared to 23.8lb (10.8kg) in 2017, according to the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA).

The yield is the highest since 2014, but still considered small compared to averages a few decades ago.

In Wales, the honey yield almost doubled last year’s average per hive to 31.4lb (14.2kg).

The BBKA pointed to new and encouraging farming practices that could help honeybees and other insects.

Northumberland beekeeper Professor John Hobrough said: “A local farmer planted Phacelia or purple tansy near my apiary and the results astounded me.

“Phacelia is a plant from North Carolina used as green manure to help improve the soil. It’s one of the top ten nectar producers for honeybees.

“Once it flowered, my honeybees had a fantastic time, with my three strong colonies making over 230lb of honey within the month.”

Beekeepers were asked in an annual survey what they thought the public could do to help honeybees and other pollinators.

Planting more nectar and pollen-producing flowers, shrubs or trees was the top answer.

They also recommended stopping using pesticides, reporting sightings of invasive Asian hornets that prey on honeybees, leaving an area of the garden to grow wild, learning to love dandelions and leaving ivy to grow.

Margaret Wilson, chairwoman of the BBKA, said: “Honeybees and all our wild creatures need food to eat and that can only come from what we plant and grow, so gardening and agricultural practices are incredibly important.”

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